Hounslow wins London Road Safety Award
12 July 2019
The London Road Safety Council runs an award scheme to celebrate work carried out within the education, training and publicity aspects of road safety. Previously known as the Laurie Bunn Award until it was re-branded in 2016, the London Road Safety Award was first presented in 2003.
Highlighting and rewarding innovation and good practice in road safety education, this year's award was presented to Hounslow Council earlier today at the TfL offices in Southwark (12th July). They were recognised for running schemes such as Hounslow's Biking Belles and Adult Cycle Training which have significantly increased the uptake of cycling and become regular staples in the borough. In 2018/19, over 1,600 participants attend sessions compared to just under 100 adults back in 2016/17! The team have also proved that cycling truly is for all with an age range from 16 to 82 and 80% of women from ethnic minority backgrounds.
(Left to right: Councillor Collins, Mayor of Hounslow, Tony Louki, Fatima Ahmed and Rob Heslop from Transport and Environmental Strategy at the 102nd Annual General Meeting).
By taking away barriers in the initial step for joining and by providing bikes and helmets at no cost to participants, cycling has been made user friendly and enjoyable. Many have formed good friendships through the sessions as their love for cycling has grown. Ambi Calay who had never ridden before said:
"I wanted to tick things off my bucket list as I approached 60 and learning to ride a bike was one of them. I was a nervous novice initially, but thanks to the amazing support and friendship at bike club, I have accomplished my goal and much more. Riding on the road last time was more nerve racking but so exhilarating. There’s a great bunch of ladies who can laugh a lot and just have fun. Thank you so much Hounslow Council for giving women like me the opportunity to learn this basic skill in a safe environment".
The cycling sessions are also attractive to those with riding experience looking to top up their skills. Ashmi Shah has been cycling since childhood and got involved with adult cycle training because she wanted to start commuting to work:
"In the sessions I have been attending, we’ve learnt about road positioning, approaching junctions and key things to be aware of. My confidence has definitely increased! The instructors are not only knowledgeable but really supportive, funny and genuinely care about seeing you progress. My mum who is 60 has also been going to the training sessions regularly as all abilities are welcome and the sessions are tailored appropriately! I have been taking my bike out more regularly on my own and as a result of these sessions, I’ve commuted to work on it and have taken it to run errands. I don’t need to worry about finding parking or traffic and it’s a great way to get some exercise in too!"
With two London Road Safety Awards under our belt (the last awarded in 2014), the Council are now looking to make cycling even more inclusive for people with disabilities by investing in adapted bikes and setting up weekly drop-in sessions. So while the road safety team celebrate their past and current success, they will continue to work with underrepresented groups to make cycling more accessible and easy for all!